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More than 23% of construction workers in the U.S. are self-employed, according to NAHB’s 2016 American Community Survey (ACS). Meanwhile, the share of self-employed workers in the economy-wide labor force is under 10%. During the economic downturn, construction self-employment increased from 24% in 2006 to a 26% peak in 2010. NAHB’s Eye on Housing reports:

It is likely that builders and remodelers who were no longer able to maintain a steady work flow may have tried to manage costs by eliminating payroll positions and joining the ranks of the self-employed. It is also possible that some construction employees laid off during the downturn were able to stay in the industry by striking out on their own.

However, ACS data show a hiring trend since the housing industry started to climb out of the trough. Between 2011 and 2016, the construction industry added almost 1.2 million private payroll jobs - a 20% increase - compared with a 5% gain of 100,000 self-employed workers. According to the data, the shares of self-employed workers are highest in states with a short construction season like Maine, Montana, and Vermont.

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